The Georgia Military College JC Softball team (35-22) begins is journey to the National Championship to be held in St. George, Utah. The team loaded up earlier today to head to the airport for their flight to Utah. The team has already had a record breaking year with their performance on the field and they see this as an opportunity for them to make long lasting memories as some of them finish out their softball career.
The seeding for the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship were just released today and the GMC Bulldogs (35-22) are seeded #16 and they will face #1 seed, Tyler College (57-4) on Wednesday, May 18th at 5pm (MT).
Tyler Junior College has been ranked #1 all year long as they have slashed their way to a 57-4 record. They carry a team BA of near .400 and a slash line of .391/.466/.637 with 76 home runs on the year. Tanna Huie leads the team with an impressive .518 average and a .810 SLG. The Apaches most impressive hitter may be Jazlyn Crowder (.464) who has 15 home runs, 30 doubles and four triples to give her a .841 slugging percentage. With five of the nine main starters batting over .400 and three players hitting 10 or more home runs, the Apaches are a dangerous team at the plate.
Not only are they dangerous at the plate but Coach Dickson has one of the best pitching staffs in the country with what could be three Aces on the staff. That is a good problem to have as it gives a team a variety of options. Abby Walker (25-3) threw the most innings (167.2) for a 1.80 ERA and 240 strikeouts. Walker averages 10.02 strikeouts per game. Cassidy Ferrill (20-0) could not have been better for the Apaches with a perfect record and a 1.52 ERA over 119.2 innings. Finally, they also have Alicia Garcia (11-1) and her 1.86 ERA over 71.1 innings which gives them plenty of depth.
The Bulldogs, who have had the benefit of 17 days of rest, recuperation and preparation for the upcoming tournament and are ready to get the tournament started. They have had a schedule balanced with rest, preparing for finals coming up as well as on the field preparation. "The girls are excited about this chance to represent Georgia Military College as well as softball in the South. Our practices have gone well with several intra-squad scrimmages as well as individual work in the cages", stated Head Coach Ashley Bunn. She added, "they all seem to have a bit of point to prove about softball here in the South. They want to go out west and compete at a high level and make a deep run into the tournament", she added.
Coach Bunn stated when asked about what her and her staff wanted to get out of this she mentioned, "Well its' great for recruiting purposes number one, and then for so many of our girls that will be returning next year it will hopefully wet their appetite to get back here next year and to put in the work during the offseason to ensure that we do."
The Bulldogs have been hot as of late by winning 8 of their last 10 games. Offensively they hold a .343/.399/.465 line. Their top hitter is Ansley Wilbanks comes into the tournament with a .514 BA, .541 OBP and 45 stolen bases. Wilbanks has only struck out once all season making her a tough out. Power comes from Taylor Little, who now holds the career home run record for the GMC program, has 14 home runs on the season. They do have good team speed and all but one of their main starters are hitting above .300.
The Bulldogs rely on two pitchers for the most part in Madason Messer (16-8) and Danielle Downs (13-7). Neither are strikeout pitchers and as a team they average just 3.22 per game. Messer has a 3.19 ERA over 171 innings and Downs carries a 2.86 ERA over 117.2 innings. They will face some good hitting teams at the tournament so it will be fun to see how this staff does in the competitive environment of the National Championship.
The Bulldogs are coming off a record breaking season in which the program saw 26 new team and/or individual records. It has been a fun year to follow the Bulldogs and you can watch them compete for the National Championship by clicking on the following link:
Tune in as the Lady Bulldogs take on #1 Tyler Junior College on Wednesday, May 18th at 5:00pm(Pacific). Go Bulldogs!